My OpEd ran in today’s Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Enjoy!
I do not know anyone who denies climate change. Scientists tell us the earth has gone through multiple warming and cooling cycles. If someone believes that there was once an Ice Age and that it is warmer now, then they believe in climate change.
During the Late Bronze era, the Minoan Warm Period was 4°C warmer than today. During the Roman Empire and the Chinese Han Dynasty, temperatures were 2°C warmer than today. During the Medieval Warm Period, temperatures were warmer than they are today. Afterwards, there was a temperature collapse called the Little Ice Age that lasted for nearly 500 years. All of these are undeniably periods of climate change.
Ten years ago, my family went on vacation to the Columbia Icefield in Jasper, Canada. We rode up to the Athabasca Glacier and were able to drink glacier melt frozen for thousands of years. What caught my eye was the welcome center sign showing the Athabasca Glacier reaching its maximum extent in 1840. The glacier has been receding ever since.
Three years ago, my family took a cruise to Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park. As the ship was heading into Glacier Bay, the tour guide told us that the maximum extent of the glacier occurred in 1750, extending well out into Icy Strait, far south of where the glacier is today.
These two trips made me ask: what happened around 1800 that caused both glaciers to start receding? Such questions have fascinated me since I majored in Physics in the 1970s during the end of “The Coming Ice Age” scare. I still have a 1979 Associated Press article that ran in my local paper warning of the coming ice age. Nine years later, we were warned about global warming.
In graduate school, our professors taught that to assert that A caused B, scientists had to meet three criteria: 1) correlation, 2) time sequence, and 3) ruling out all other possible causes.
For the assertion that man-made CO2 causes global warming, the criteria for causality is woefully lacking. True, CO2 and temperature both increase, but there is no proof of time sequence (did earth’s temperature rise first, causing CO2 to go up?), and there is certainly no ruling out all other possible causes. What caused all the previous climate shifts? Why was it significantly warmer 2000 years ago?
Astronomers have a mathematical model that correctly explains the appearance of Halley’s Comet back to 1066 AD and even 467 BC. We trust their model when they say it will reappear in 2061.
Climate scientists also rely on mathematical models to predict the future, but those same models cannot correctly explain even the recent past. Notice that all climate models start around 1850, at the end of the Little Ice Age. Not a single model can explain why past warming and cooling periods occurred, yet climate scientists insist their models can predict the future.
Further, their models predict absurdities. According to their models, rising CO2 levels necessarily cause temperatures to rise, yet their models cannot explain the 15 year “hiatus” in global warming.
Their models predicted more numerous hurricanes and tornadoes, and even that snow would be a thing of the past by now. Tell that to residents on the Palouse who just experienced their fourth coldest and snowiest February in history. Yet a climate professor in Oregon says we are just “lucky” to still see snow since the models do not allow for it. Lucky according to science? At what point have we shifted from science to religion?
Science is also disregarded when something is named a fact and not a theory. While we have the Theory of Relativity, Quantum Field Theory, and Atomic Theory, among climatologists we have “the fact of man-made climate change.” We are told that 97% of all scientists believe this is a fact with no apologies to Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, or Einstein who were in the minority and were willing to be proven wrong in the name of science.
Finally, the marketing for global warming has changed faster than the climate. In three decades it has gone from global warming (1988) to climate change (2008) to climate disruption (2010) to climate crisis (2018). Real science has no need to rename theories to make them more viable. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity requires no PR campaign and makeover to market itself against other competing theories.
So, while I do not deny climate change, I do deny that climatologists have correctly identified anything warranting trillions of dollars’ worth of preventative effort.